Juniper branches out with secure routers

Juniper Networks Inc. has added security features to its routers that the company says should make it easier for service providers to roll out end-to-end network protection for their clients.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based network gear maker announced in May its “J-Protect” portfolio – a program designed to beef up a service provider’s network offerings with security built into the routers.

J-Protect brings Network Address Translation (NAT), stateful firewall, flow monitoring, rate limiting, filtering and other protection-minded services to Juniper’s E-, M- and T-Series boxes. Service providers would be able to turn on these features and offer them to users.

“We’ve integrated these things into a common platform, giving customers the ability to then take these tools, or combinations of these tools, and apply them to user experiences,” said Todd Shimizu, Juniper’s security solutions manager.

The portfolio includes an Adaptive Services Physical Interface Card (PIC), which brings NAT functionality and stateful firewalling to the M-Series routers, as well as a Tunnel Services Module, which brings the same features to the E-Series platforms.

Juniper’s routers will ship with accounting, monitoring and rate limiting services, as well as encryption and virtual private networking (VPN) capabilities. The company says J-Protect means the service providers’ network managers have fewer boxes to worry about, now that the security is packed into the router.

“Something we hear often from customers…they’re always looking to mitigate the amount of separate equipment that is required for a service offering or a particular application,” Shimuzu said, adding that Juniper also offers professional services for the J-Protect portfolio. The vendor’s experts will take customers through the implementation process, all the way from vulnerability assessment to network design, planning, testing, deployment and validation to make sure everything works as it should.

According to Ray Mota, a Phoenix-based industry analyst with Synergy Research Group Inc., Juniper is guarding its own market as much as its customers’ networks with J-Protect.

Juniper made a name for itself taking on Cisco in the router space by building boxes that scaled easily, Mota said. But “now they’re in this situation where you can’t sell that. You have to go in with a business proposition and address all the components….Show me how to reduce my operational costs; show me how to run my network better. With [J-Protect], they have a business case.”

Michael Kennedy, managing partner with Network Strategy Partners LLC in Boston, said J-Protect taps into the service provider’s requirements.

“It’s necessary to take these commodity-like, unprofitable services and turn them into profitable services….That’s being done by providing things like firewall service, network-based firewall services, managed VPNs, tiered levels of service so you get what you pay for, and of course more security – fundamentally turning least-common-denominator IP service into a rich offering.”

But carriers have been cutting back on capital expenditures these days. Are they willing to invest in Juniper’s latest products? Kennedy said there are two instances in which a service provider would pull out the pocketbook.

“If they’ve identified a new service offering and this is necessary to roll out the new service,” like a new highly secure VPN on the network, “they would have to buy some hardware. The other circumstance that can drive investment is if they’re on the verge of going out of business because of all the money they’re losing on these commodity services.”

“If you’re fat and happy you’re not going to buy,” Kennedy said. “If you’re seeking new opportunities or you’re desperate, it’s likely you will buy.”

Juniper’s representatives said the company does not disclose product prices. For more information about J-Protect, see the firm’s Web site at www.juniper.net.



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